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'Trust Me': Actor Clark Gregg's sleazy agent is also intensely sympathetic

'Trust' loses its way toward the end of the movie with some clunky plot turns.

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In an attempt to sign a Hollywood starlet, struggling talent agent and former child star Howard Holloway (Clark Gregg) must contend with her volatile father, a scheming long-time rival, and a producer and casting director who despise him.

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Clark Gregg, better known as Agent Phil Coulson from the Marvel films, stars in “Trust Me,” which he also wrote and directed. He’s an agent here, too – a down-and-out Hollywood agent for child actors.

As Howard, who once was a child actor himself, Gregg manages the difficult feat of making his character both sleazy and intensely sympathetic. Desperate to land a deal with the 14-year-old Lydia (Saxon Sharbino), who is up for a young adult blockbuster franchise, Howard is put through the wringer by predatory talent scouts, producers, parents, and rivals (Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, and Felicity Huffman fill out the cast).

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As long as Gregg, as both actor and director, is anatomizing the Hollywood viper pit, “Trust Me” rings true. The film loses its way toward the end, though, when some clunky plot turns and a bout of unmagical realism sink the ship. Grade: B- (Rated R for language.)